7 Performer, 1 Technician

Bühne: 10 m x 12 m

Aufführungsdauer: ca. 0:25 h


Premiere: 31.10.2018, Festival DENSE BAMAKO DANSE, Donko Seko, Bamako (Mali)

Deutschland-Premiere: 12.06.2019, Theater im Ballsaal Bonn


In collaboration with: Donko Seko (Bamako), Théâtre du Crochetan Monthey, Theater im Ballsaal Bonn, Ringlokschuppen Ruhr Mülheim 


Funded within the TURN Fund der Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Kunststiftung NRW, Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bundesstadt Bonn, Theatre-ProVS, Le Conseil de la Culture Etat du Valais, La Loterie Romande


In coproduction with Goethe-Institut (International coproduction fund)  and Kunstfest Weimar


By and with: Ibrahima Camara, Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina De Dominicis, Álvaro Esteban, Werner Nigg, Léonce Konan Noah, Sanga Ouattara, (also for the movement research: Ana Koné, Greta Salgado) •  Choreography: Rafaële Giovanola • Composition: Jörg Ritzenhoff • Lightdesign: Florent Blanchon

• Costumes: Fa-Hsuan Chen • Dramaturgy: Rainald Endraß • Production management: Daniela Ebert • Management: Mechtild Tellmann • Pictures: Klaus Fröhlich • Video trailer: Michael Maurissens/ Carré Blanc Productions



Initiated and granted as part of TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries by the Federal Cultural Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes)


In his work "Marx's Ghosts", Jacques Derrida develops a discourse of the spooky, producing a medial figure of the in-between "which creates a relationship that can’t be fixated by itself". "Signifying Ghosts" takes Derrida's mental figure as a starting point for the intercultural encounter of four choreographers and their ensembles: The collaboration of Kettly Noël from Bamako, Nelisiwe Xaba from Johannesburg, Vera Sander from Cologne and Rafaële Giovanola from Bonn brings together four extraordinary personalities who have already built cultural bridges between Africa and Europe in previous dance projects.

In collaboration with the center Donko Seko in Bamako and the Academy for Music and Dance in Cologne, the CocoonDance Company creates an experimental encounter space which allows the female choreographers and their performers to develop projects in parallel, and, at times, hand them over to the other choreographers. The creative collaboration thus takes place in an in-between space, following the anthropological and postcolonial theories of “liminality” (Victor Turner) and the "Third Space" (Homi Bhabha).

EX-SITU, the subproject of CocoonDance Company, derives from the re-reading and re-appropriating of an earlier choreographic work by CocoonDance. Following the concept of the overall SIGNIFYING GHOSTS project, the movement material will be looked at through the eyes of foreign choreographers, interpreted and transformed by the new material of unfamiliar bodies who are hailing from a different cultural background. The new impulse for this work consists in forming out of these heterogeneous individual bodies a new whole, an entire organism; to shape a structure which is held together by skin, cells, organs and limbs, self-communicating and interacting.




EX-SITU is probably the most energetic, if not most staggering piece of the evening, slowly increasing from immobility into a downright ecstasy of movement. The emotional impact is reinforced by the direct view of the seated group on the audience and, towards the end of the piece, by the threatening advancement of the group towards the stage ramp. Until then, the movements of the seven performers have grown from light vibrations and twitching to sudden jumps and tumbles, to a running wild horde of suffering creatures. It's fantastic how the choreographer succeeded in preventing the impending collapse and chaos by making individual dancers to leap and crackle like lightning rods to calm down the entire group. (Klaus Keil, tanzweb.org, 13.06.2019)


EX-SITU plays with the rhythm of the dancers, who express their vibrating breathing in an aesthetic manner, stunning in their movements and led by a stylizing force that wants to bring these heteronomous bodies into ecstasies. This effect is reinforced by the empty, but direct glances of the group of dancers who are advancing at the end of the piece threateningly close towards the viewers, but then collapse and suddenly stop twitching. The subsequent applause turns them back into humans who have done a fantastic job in Giovanola's choreography. (Barbara Franke, Bonner Rundschau, 17.06.2019)


EX-SITU shifts the perspectives to the everywhere raging lustful staging of bodies and plays cunningly with the voyeuristic complicity between the stage and the audience. From the initial calmness an almost ecstatic movement dizziness develops. At the same time, the performers look seemingly emotionless at the viewers and move more and more closer towards them at the end. An exciting reversal of viewing directions. Enthusiastic applause. (Elisabeth Einecke-Klövekorn, General-Anzeiger Bonn, 17.06.2019)


This is an exciting evening. The dancers of CocoonDance once again convince the audience at the roundhouse with the emotional vehemence of their choreography. Almost motionless, the seven dancers initially sit on the stage floor. The slight trembling to the scary thundering sound in the distance is barely noticeable.

It increases to a twitching, which then sets the upper body and finally the complete dancer into motion. The music and movement are pushing in a breathtaking and exciting crescendo towards a climax. (Steffen Tost, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 17.06.2019)



The evening ends with seven vibrating, shaky, feverish bodies moving towards us like as a single organism. The Swiss artist Rafaële Giovanola choreographed in EX-SITU a collective fumbling search that contains a promise, a seduction and a threat. And these SIGNIFYING GHOSTS, in their entirety, tell us about physical encounters in which success and failure always seem possible at the same time. (Michael Helbing, Thüringer Allgemeine, Weimar, 02.09.2019)